A Story That Must Be Told

I sat alone at the back of the pews, the sweet sound of music echoing throughout the elegant ceiling of the church, soothing my broken heart. The music stopped and a woman passed the brown casket draped in a white sheet.

“Ernie Rizzo was a great man,” she started. “He’s affected many lives.” I looked around at the unknown faces, wondering how he had touched them. I hadn’t even met his family until the night before. Her reflection speech went on, many of the words jumbled in my head, but when she came to “he’s inspired a high school girl to continue with her dreams of being a journalist” I realized that I would never be able to pick up the phone again and dial his number to see what case he had been working on currently.

Rewind. It had been a chilly bright morning when my mother dropped me off at “Papa G’s”. My stomach was doing flips and my knees shook, I had been so nervous and exited to interview this famous private eye from my hometown. He had done cases for OJ Simpson, Michael Jordan, Elian Gonzalez, Michael Jackson, Hugh Hefner, Riley Fox, and many other known celebrities. My eyes glanced around watching for a familiar face that I had seen in many magazines. Finally they landed on the big burly man, I backed away wondering why I had gotten myself into this. I was only a high school reporter for my school newspaper. I was always looking for exciting stories such as a student who had spent a week in the county jail or the police chief going through a drug bust that had gone wrong, but this was beyond that. I couldn’t go back now; it was an opportunity that I had to have.

Hours passed as Mr. Rizzo and I sat that the restaurant table.

“What is a typical day like?” I asked him.

“It’s like being God,” he told me. No longer was his curly hair, baggy pants, and stocky figure intimidating to me, his smile greeted me like I had been his friend forever. We talked about life and all the experiences we had. He shared with me secrets he had never told anyone and I told him how writing about others made me forget about my home life. He shared with me the love for his job and family. His brown eyes glowed with passion for everything he loved in life.

After the article was written Mr. Rizzo and I stayed in touch. Even though Mr. Rizzo only had a few hours of sleep a night, he always had time to pick up the phone to ask me how my life was going. Mr. Rizzo and I had a connection that it seemed like no one else understood. He showed me that no matter how small you are, you still matter. He taught me to catch every opportunity that comes by, no matter how afraid you are. His numerous calls before the article was published, asking when it was coming out because he was so excited for it, just reinforced the idea that to him, I was someone. The day it was published he showed up to school, disheveled from working on a case and no sleep the night before, asking for the article.

I asked him to sign the paper, knowing that it would be something I would value for the rest of my life. I wish I had asked to get a picture with him because I know he would have never said no. But we were friends, I didn’t want a picture to be an end-all. This was the last time I would see him.

“Tara, have you heard?” My newspaper advisor stood in front of me a year after I had written the article. I shook my head quizzically wondering what he was talking about. “That private eye you wrote an article on last year passed away Sunday.” My heart dropped hoping he was joking, but sure enough he had the article to prove it. I couldn’t help but start to cry, the man who taught me that dreams do come true, the man who we all thought was invincible was gone.

Susan Orlean, one of my favorite journalists, once wrote: “Inevitably, though, I lose track of many of the people I’ve written about. It’s one of the part of the job—this “Fun! Interesting! Active! Exciting!” job—that makes me melancholy, I know it’s unrealistic and impractical to think I could stay close to everyone I’ve profiled, and even if I could, we would never be as close as we were when I was writing about them; still, it’s hard not to feel attached to people once you’ve been allowed into their lives. So what I have of them, and always will have, is just that moment we spent together—now preserved on paper, bound between covers, cast out into the world--- and they will never get any older, their faces will never fade, their dreams will still be within reach, and I will forever still be listening as hard as I can.”

Fast forward. After the funeral, after the precession and into the luncheon. I grabbed my coat ready to leave the luncheon, the funeral had been a beautiful one and I had met so many people, still wouldn’t have been possible without Mr. Rizzo. I thanked his daughter who I had grown close to since the night before. After giving her a hug she looked at me and said “You know what, I finally figured out why my father liked you so much. He had this intuition in seeing people that are going to be successful someday and he saw that you are truly going to make it big. He could always see things that other people couldn’t.” I walked out of the door, my head was swelling with emotions. They always said that even when the world was against him 97% of the time he was right. I swung open the door of the restaurant and felt the cold air hitting my face. Though my idol was not here with me now he had taught me how to brave the world alone. I was ready.

Mr. Rizzo was one of kind and I see him as a large reason why I am still in journalism. Every time I speak with someone, it surprises me how much people are willing to share their story with me. I know that I would never be able to talk to someone who was going to share my story with the rest of the world, but I guess as my boyfriend tells me, getting to know my life story, “it’s like pulling teeth out of you.”

In the end though, the combination of my life story, the people around me who influence me, and those who are willing to share their story with me, is what makes me a journalist.

It is those people like Mr. Rizzo who I speak to that keep me going. Everyone has a story to tell and each one unique, one no more than the rest.

So to me, I’d like to thank everyone who has ever told me their story and everyone who will tell me their story.

Popular to contrary belief, not all journalists are cold hearted. I care about everyone I interview. I do not and will never do something to intentionally hurt someone.

On Mr. Rizzo’s gravestone it reads “vini, vidi, vici”. I came, I saw, I conquered. I truly believe he did that and now his inspiration will live on in my life forever.


Overseas Soldiers Receive Some Love From Home For The Holidays

When my brother joined the Marines over three years ago it was pretty obvious he would be going into war.

Sure enough he was deployed to Iraq last year. In the spring, after a year there, my brother came back to the states. After talking with him about his time over there, one thing that stuck out to me was how he stressed how important care packages are to soldiers. It reminded me of when he came back from bootcamp and talked about how important letters are to keep them going.

Although it is important to send care packages year long, the holidays can be especially tough on soldiers. Even though my family has never been big on holidays, I could tell that being overseas last year during Christmas had a large impact on my brother. My mom asked my brothers and I this year if we just wanted to skip giving each other presents and my brother responded with, "I was in Iraq last year, can we please just have Christmas?" For those families who are especially big on holidays, I'm sure it can be really tough.

But my story did not stem from those moments, rather from a clip of an event I saw going on in Auxvasse where the Auxvasse Creative Arts Program was holding a night where kids could make cards for the soldiers overseas. Despite the story idea not stemming from my own background, I do feel that my experiences helped to push the story in the right direction and provided me a little extra insight into how these families felt.

I plan on doing an extended version of this story next week. I have five extra interviews - three from soldiers serving now, one from a veteran and another from the Auxvasse Creative Arts Program founder that I would like to include. Once I have that done, I will definitely post it! For now... B1 package two:


As thousands of troops prepare to leave home for the holidays, some families are already missing loved ones. In this season marked by family gatherings, many are finding ways to bring a big of home to soldiers. Watch to see what one family is doing and how a community is showing their support.


On a lighter note, my website is now up and running! I had a few problems, but everything seems to be fixed. I've got a year and half until I graduate, so there will be lots of time to improve and lots of time to gather more work!

Check it out by clicking on the picture below!


Consuming Online News

This semester I decided to take a research class dealing with finding solutions to practical problems by using secondary research, in-depth interviews, focus groups and surveying.

The class was divided into groups and given a specific topic to cover. My group decided to look into how readers like their online news. We looked at different multimedia tools such as video, discussion boards and pictures. We also looked how news sites are laid out, as well as how people use social media networking sites to consume their news. After all our research our final project was to put a video together.

Due to the limited time, the editing of the video is not the best, but the information is pretty interesting.


Ashland Alternative School Gives Students A Second Shot

Originally the story I’m about to show you began as a news story. I pitched the idea at the beginning of the semester as “a new alternative school opened up in Ashland and I would like to see how it’s doing. The population rate has doubled in Ashland and the dropout rate is increasing...ect.”

The assistant news director was really hoping for a feature on it, so I jumped at the idea.

Over the course of this story, I really enjoyed getting to know the people in the story. I had the opportunity to speak with the principle who started it all, the passionate teacher who keeps it going, and the student who’s not giving up.

Although it’s your typical kind of feature, I felt it was one worth telling. I’m used to writing features on well…not so ordinary things, so it was nice to do a story like this for a change.

My only regret was the amount of time I didn’t have to actually write it. I felt the interviews went great, but by the time I got to write the story, I was in a crunch. Nevertheless it got done!

Click here to listen to the story.


For students who decide to drop out of high school, getting back in is almost impossible. But for dropouts in the Ashland-area, administrators in the Southern Boone County School District are making sure they get the opportunity to go back. The Ashland Alternative School opened its doors to twenty high school students in August. Already there is a waiting list. KBIA’s Tara Grimes shows how this school is giving students a second shot at their education.

Just beyond the side doors of the Southern Boone Middle School is a classroom. And in the small quiet classroom filled with computers sits 18-year-old Kaylee Silvers clicking away. For three hours a day Silvers patiently works on a lesson plan. Outside of the classroom Silvers holds a part time job working at a tanning salon. Past the bright blonde hair and bubbly personality is someone who hasn’t had the easiest time in life.

“My best friend died two days before my sixteenth birthday and that’s where I dropped out of school because it was really rough,” Silvers said.

Shortly after that her other best friend moved to Colorado.

“It was going to be my sophomore year that year, and that’s when I said I would try to go back that first quarter, but without them both being there I just couldn’t do it,” Silvers said. “There was no way I could sit in a classroom all day and then try and walk the halls and them not be there.”

Silvers lived on her own for a year and a half. She worked full time and paid all of her bills. But a letter from Southern Boone Middle School’s Principle Bob Simpson inviting her to apply to the school changed the course of her life. It’s a letter that changed the lives of twenty students. Simpson says they looked for certain students.

“They need to be in grades 9 though 12, they need to be credit deficit,” Simpson said. “We prioritize those applicants, obviously juniors and seniors, if they’re on the list are going to priority over freshman or sophomore. And then we just take those in the greatest need on a first priority basis.”

Once accepted into Southern Boone Alternative School, students must come to school three hours each weekday. They must also either do volunteer service work or hold a part time job. Students work at their own pace and with help from counselors choose a course of study specific to their needed graduation requirements. Simpson, along with other administrators, started the program.

“A lot of the decisions we make here are based on our data, and our data was telling us that our dropout statistics were increasing,” Simpson said.

Misty Brawner is the school’s afternoon teacher. She sees the benefit this program brings to those who must work to help out their families or those who just can’t learn in a traditional school environment.

“It’s not a dumping ground, it’s kids that just need to learn in a different environment and there’s people involved with this, teachers and administrators, that really want it to work,” Brawner said. “And they’re working to get that done and have it be a positive thing for the community.”

By next December, four students are expected to graduate. Students won’t receive a regular high school diploma, but they will be handed a diploma a step above the GED. Silvers says there’s one thing that keeps her going.

“I just really want to walk across the stage in a gown,” Silvers said.

And it’s not only the students who are excited about graduating. Brawner says she has already hung up yearbook graduation pictures.

“It’s just a good feeling because these kids are going to graduate; they are going to get their diploma. And that’s the best feeling seeing that,” Brawner said.

Brawner says she feels sometimes education is taken for granted.

“I just think education, once you have it, is something nobody can take from you and then these kids will have that for the rest of their life,” Brawner said. “For some people high school diploma it’s just the beginning, but for some people that’s the pinnacle. They got their high school diploma and maybe they were the first in their entire family even, but they did it. And that for me is the most meaningful part of being in this program.”

As for Simpson, he hopes to expand the program.

“It’s going to take time and we’re going to need to show that the program working proves our efficacy, but I’m confident the way things are going that we’ll be able to do that,” Simpson said.

But with time, hopefully the Ashland Alternative Education Program can continue giving students a second shot at their education. For now, at least one student, Silvers, will continue calling herself a future 2010 graduate. What about after that? She says she hopes college is also in her future. Tara Grimes, KBIA News.



Mandatory Trash and Recycling Service Debate Continues

It's been a month since the Jefferson City council meeting when citizens stood up and made an outcry about the mandatory trash and recycling service, but the debate is still ongoing.


Mandatory curbside trash and recycling pickup may have begun weeks ago in Jefferson City, but some residents are still fuming at the idea. Those against the service have now come together to form a citizen action committee group. They say they aren’t stopping until they see results. The City though, is standing behind its decision. KBIA’s Tara Grimes reports.

Big blue 65-gallon bins line the streets throughout Jefferson City. Although some are stuffed with recycling and trash, others are empty and have been that way for weeks. For twenty-seven year resident John Ross, an empty bin outside his house is no exception.

He’s just one of a group of residents who is refusing to use the service and says the new mandatory service is too costly for those who produce such a small amount of trash.

“The problem I have is I’m a single individual so I don’t generate that much. In fact there are times when I don’t use those whole ten bags in a quarter and most of my job I’m traveling so I’m not here most of the time so I don’t really generate that much trash,” Ross said.

The debate began heating up when Allied Waste began distributing the bins to each single-family home. Citizens are required to pay $15.34 every month for both trash and recycling. The new system is only forty-six cents more than the old system, but resident Howard Taggart says the fact that the fee is now mandatory is a problem for low-income families.

“A lot of these people can’t afford groceries or milk for their kids and they have to pay this?” Taggart said.

Taggart and Ross are two of about thirty residents who have come together to form a citizen action committee group. The group hopes to create a referendum to advocate an amendment of the ordinance.

City officials say they are looking for solutions, but still believe the system is best for the city. Although residents are no longer allowed to use bags, city councilmember Carrie Carroll says making the program mandatory and not letting residents share bins with their neighbors helps to leverage out the cost among all the citizens.

“In the big picture the way that really worked is people with cart service were essentially subsidizing the bags because the cost of the service was still there, but bag users were simply paying for the bags. They weren’t paying for, really in the big picture, the cost of the service,” Carroll said.

Councilmember Carroll says the new program is, on average, three dollars cheaper than other cities nationwide. Residents in Columbia though, only pay $14.42 a month. But when searching for the best option, Carroll says the council looked at the studies and pilot programs that were done on the system. She says they found it to be the best option in extending the life of the landfill.

“Looking at the landfill and the future, we have about 16 years of life left in it. We’re going to have some big decisions in the future. What we do now is really going to affect that,” Carroll said.

But despite the city’s ongoing efforts to calm the dispute, Ross, like many residents, says he won’t be paying the bill.

“Oh I still have it sitting on my kitchen counter,” Ross said. “We haven’t paid it yet. We’re looking for other avenues in order to circumvent what we have at this point so we’re not barred into this system yet.”

The city council directed people to an online application for low-income assistance. This would lower the monthly bills to thirteen dollars and fifty cents. Tara Grimes, KBIA News.



Continuing Coverage on the Jefferson City Recycling Debate

Last Saturday residents of Jefferson City came together to form a citizen action committee group hoping to create a referendum to amend ordinance #14486 - an ordinance on the recycling debate I've been telling you about. I attended this meeting and am currently working on a story for KBIA. As the debate continues heating up, I'm sure things will get interesting.

In the mean time, check out their blogspot here.


Recycling Debate Heats Up In Jefferson City

Introducing my first package ever...

A heated debate is causing quite the stink in Jefferson City. Mandatory recycling and trash pick up began last week, but some are frustrated with the service and the city. I'll show you why some residents are kicking the idea to the curb.

The council did say if people needed help they could apply for low-income assistance. This would lower their bills to thirteen dollars and fifty cents a month.

ps- ignore the horrible framing and nat sound

Radioactive Material Action, Elizabeth Olten Update and a Website

It’s not a funny matter, but I can’t help but think of Homer Simpson whenever I hear about radioactive material being carried out of a building. You know, the intro to the Simpson’s where a tube of radioactive matter bounces up into his suit and he carries it out of the building with him? Just to throw it out of his car window when he finds it (refer to the picture on your left), and where one of the other character's proceeds to eat it.

Although then again... how often do you hear of someone just carrying radioactive material out of a building?

What happened here at the University of Missouri, well not quite as dramatic or funny, but still a story! This past week at KBIA was fairly simple. There’s not much to say because the story says it all itself.

I wrote a reader for the Nov. 5 nightly newscast and a wrap for the morning.


A rare spill at the University of Missouri is turning heads. Clean-up continued Thursday after a MU researcher accidentally walked out of a lab with radioactive material on his shoe. KBIA’s Tara Grimes reports.

The incident occurred Monday evening in a lab on the first floor of Schlundt Annex. An MU researcher unintentionally spilled the radioactive isotope phosphorus-32 and walked out of the lab with it on his shoes. MU spokesperson Christian Basi says the researcher realized what had happened once he left the building.

“It was the researcher who identified that there had been a release,” Basi said. “So it was my understanding that he called our folks at the environmental health and safety department immediately, and they responded right away and were there for several hours. Again, to make sure it was safe, as well as begin the clean up process.”

Cleanup crews worked to identify where the material was located outside the Annex. Basi says students and faculty did not face health risks. Missouri Department of Health spokesperson Kit Wagar says the accident should not be a concern to the public and was negligible at most.

“As far as the general public goes, just your shoes and your clothes protect you from it, because it gives off such a low level of radioactivity,” Wager said.

As of yesterday, the University was still restricting access to six of the biochemistry labs. Basi says due to emergency drills held each year, the environmental and health agency knew how to respond quickly and effectively.

“This is a case of being prepared,” Basi said. “That we had no health issues come up with this situation, that the researcher who was involved knew exactly what to do and when to do it, and the folks that had to respond knew exactly what they needed to do to get their job done.”

Basi says if this were to happen again, an emergency plan is in place to identify the risks of material.

Should something happen, we have a plan in place that we feel is flexible enough that we can implement that plan immediately and we have people who are trained to handle that material, and if not we have other outside resources we can call in, in a heartbeat,” Basi said.

Basi says the radioactive material tracked out of the building this week is used often in DNA research. He says it’s been around for decades so clean-up crews knew to deal with it. Basi also says the researchers who handle the material must be authorized and trained to use it. An investigation of the incident will begin after clean-up. Environmental health and safety director Peter Ashbrook was not available to comment. Tara Grimes, KBIA news.


I’ve also been working on building my website with my friend Jason. Here is a little sneak peek on our progress with it:

I’m currently coding the main page and resume page, hopefully soon moving on to the broadcast, online, and contact me pages!

My first VOSOT was due for my broadcast one class and I decided to head out to St. Martins to find out more on the search of the little 9-year-old missing girl. Sadly I received the news that her body was recovered in the woods nearby her house just minutes after I picked up the camera. I decided to go out there anyway and attend the last news conference on the investigation. My decision to cover this story came because I wanted to know how it felt to cover a story like this. I feel that the hardest part of my job will be talking with families who have lost their loved ones. The aura in the air is something unexplainable. Being there as a third party, without knowing anyone, feels as if I'm barging in on someone's life. But in the end, we're journalists and that's what we do, just having to remind ourselves over and over that in the end we're only trying to do good for society. Good or bad stories.

The confirmation of this feeling came this past week when two of my reporter friends had to speak with families of those who lost a loved one in the Fort Hood shooting. I specifically remember seeing their tweets on how this is the part of the job they hate.

Since I hitched a ride with my reporter friend from KOMU who was doing a package on the same thing, I decided to voice his package for practice… little did I know how horrible I would sound. But the video is great and that last slow mo shot was mine! Nancy Grace and CNN both aired the package!

Elizabeth Olten Update from Tara Grimes on Vimeo.

Currently I’m working on my feature for KBIA. All interviews are done, finished my last one this past week. I also attended the Jefferson City Council Meeting last Monday for my first B1 package. Originally I went into the meeting thinking I would work on one story, but as the meeting went on I realized there was a deeper issue at hand that concerned citizens . Thus, like always in the news world, things can change in the blink of an eye and I decided to change my story. I’ll be working on that package this week and will post it when I’m done. Until then, I’ll leave the suspense growing!


One Sky... One World

Like many, I’ve never really thought of kite flying as a sport, much less a majestic sport. But as I learned after attending the “One Sky, One World” event in Columbia there is much more to kite flying than throwing a kite up in the air and watching it soar. It’s been a long-time hobby for some. People who have dedicated a lot of time learning how to pull off tricks in the air, building the kites, learning how to fly them to music, and participating in kite flying contests.

On October 11, people from all over the world went out into their communities and soared their kites in the annual “One Sky, One World” event, promoting protection of the planet and encouraging peace between all cultures.

Here in Columbia at Cosmo-Bethal Park, I met some really great people at the event and enjoyed talking with them. Some were from kite flying clubs all over the state. They gave me some interesting insight into what makes kite flying more than just a thing for kids. One of the flyers even let me fly the two string kite, I can definitely say I won't be trying out the four stringer any time soon...

This story is presented in an audio postcard. Basically an audio postcard is a mix of soundbites and sound to give the listener the illusion they are at the event. It’s a way to tell the story through different people who were there.


Local Law Enforcement Agencies Prepare For Worst Case Scenarios

What do I love about journalism? You get to experience things I know I would never get to if I wasn't in this profession. Every time I do have the opportunity to experience something, my yearn to learn just keeps on growing... yesterday was just one of those days...

For the past five months, the Columbia and Boone County Local Emergency Planning Committee had been planning and preparing for a large scale training exercise for local law enforcement agencies. The basis of the exercise is to help prepare emergency responders for the worst possible situation they can face.

Little Dixie Construction allowed agencies to use a vacant house near a large field to conduct this exercise. Inside the house, a lab was set up, along with trip wires, a fake bomb, and pretend chemical toxins. Outside they had the decontamination area set up.

As soon as the news director offered the story to me, I took it. Learning about law enforcement and how it works has always fascinated me. I have never been to a training exercise and couldn't wait to watch them in action. While there, the PIO took the reporter and photog from KMIZ and I into the home to show us how everything worked. We had a chance to watch a million dollar, 500 pound robot move about, send information back to those outside, and even climb the stairs. Like always I learned a vast amount of information that could not be included in the story, but hopefully along with the pictures, you will get the gist of what was going on. Click here to hear the story, click here to read the story on KBIA's website or read a longer version of the story below.

Boone County law enforcement agencies are now one step closer to feeling more prepared in extreme emergency situations. A number of organizations showed up yesterday to take part in an extensive training exercise. Law enforcement agencies included the local SWAT team, the Mid-Missouri Bomb Squad, the Missouri Guard 7th Civil Support Team, the FBI, and the Columbia Fire and Police Departments. The agencies worked together to simulate an attempt to serve a warrant at a private residence. KBIA’s Tara Grimes reports.

Outside a vacant home in Boone County, about half a dozen emergency responders worked together to bandage up a bloodied victim. Just minutes earlier the responders rescued the victim inside the home. Other law enforcement quickly went through decontamination, removing any possible toxic chemicals from their hazmat suits. Nearby, operators controlled a robot searching inside of the house for
bombs, trip wires and other toxic chemicals. It was all in an effort to prepare emergency responders for the worst situations possible. The Columbia and Boone County Local Emergency Planning Committee started planning the training exercise five months ago. Columbia Fire Department Division Chief Terry Cassil calls the event a once in a career opportunity. He says he feels the exercise helped to find the strengths and weaknesses of those there.

“It allows us to make contacts, have familiar faces, know who’s capable of what sorts of things. So I think we’re much more prepared after the exercise than before,” Cassil said.

University Police Department Sergeant and Bomb Squad Technician Chris Groves says training exercises help responders get to know each other through teamwork before an emergency situation arises.

“Quite frankly we’re having a lot of fun just learning and interfacing with all the other units here,” Groves said.

Planning for these events are not simple though. Master Sergeant William Heikkila is the Communications Chief for the Weapons of Mass Destruction 7th Civil Support Team. He says his team travels around the country doing these types of exercises. He also says the planning is a long process.

“The time and the research is literally a 24-hour-a-day process,” Heikkila said. “From the time that we get on duty, we are continuously training or prepping the equipment. We have personnel that are either in school, prepping to go to school or they are doing training like this."

But in the end, Heikkila says he hopes the exercise will help in the future.

“The big thing that I hope for is a good joint exercise where all the agencies involved have learned something new and can master that skill and then take it on to the next exercise,” Heikkila said.

Departments train once a month, but events like this are rare. Tara Grimes, KBIA news.

Here are a few photos I shot while at the event:

Treasures Along The River

Remember the story I did on Missouri River Relief cleaning up in Jefferson City a few weeks ago?

I stumbled across an overview of the event and they were kind enough to post a link to this blog and the story. I also noticed though, that the page also includes some other great facts about how much they picked up and better yet, what they picked up.

Click on the picture below to head to their site and see what kind of treasures they found!


Downpour Of Rain Leads To Water Rescues, Road Closures

Those who went to yesterday's Mizzou game will tell you the weather was not pretty at all. The cold, freezing, torrential rain whipping at their faces and their entire outfits drenched in water was probably a very unpleasant experience. It didn't help either that Mizzou lost....

Columbia has gotten over five inches of rain since yesterday morning and it just keeps on coming. The rain isn't only causing problems for students, but the rest of Columbia as well. Before I headed into KBIA yesterday at 9 a.m., I saw that the Boone County Fire Department had been out making water rescues. So walah! My other stories had been taken, so this was it! Some stories are just as simple as that.

I spoke with the Boone County Fire District Division Chief, Boone County Public Works Maintenance Operations Manager, and a Supervisor for the 911 center at Columbia's Emergency Management Department about the rescues and road closures.

Click here to hear my story, click here to read the story on KBIA's website or read the text below. Much of the story did get cut to air (such as the strict numbers, details of road closures, how to prevent yourself from getting stuck in water, why exactly the water rescues happened ect. too much to fit into a reader) and quotes were extremely poor. I had other quotes talking about how long it would take to clean up, but another quote was used instead. I didn't really get any significant information from them that I couldn't write out myself making it tough to find a good quote. Almost a waste of already limited time if you ask me:


Pouring rain throughout the day is causing a challenge for a number of Boone County drivers. Fire District Division Chief Gale Blomenkamp says the fire department responded to four water rescues before sunrise. The Boone County Public Works department was out closing roads as well. Maintenance operations manager Chip Estabrooks says the majority of the roads are by creeks and typically aren’t used by a large number of drivers. Officials closed more than a dozen roads throughout the day. Estabrooks says because some roads were built more than a century ago it would be hard to prevent flooding.

“We have to be really careful about building up these areas. It’s quite a process for the engineering department to design roads through low lying flood plain areas," Estabrooks says.

A flash flood warning remains in effect for Boone County until 6 p.m. tonight.


A slightly different version to use of the 6 p.m. newscast:

The Boone County Public Works Department is staying busy closing roads. Officials closed more than a dozen roads throughout the day. Boone County Maintenance operations manager Chip Estabrooks says the majority of the roads closed are by creeks and typically aren’t used by a large number of drivers. The county not only faced issues with flooded roads, but drivers who tried to make it across them. Boone County Fire District Division Chief Gale Blomenkamp says the fire department responded to four water rescues before sunrise… the most significant rescue happened when a man’s vehicle hydroplaned on the roadway.

“His vehicle went off the side of the road into the ditch, started being swept away by water into the creek and he was able to escape the vehicle and self rescue into a tree and that’s where we found the victim and was able to get him out of there," Blomenkamp says.

A flash flood warning remains in effect for Boone County until 6 p.m. tonight.


*Picture taken from Flickr.com

Copyright © Tara Grimes
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